Effects on prism adaptation of duration and timing of visual feedback during pointing

J Mot Behav. 1990 Jun;22(2):209-24. doi: 10.1080/00222895.1990.10735511.


In two experiments, we investigated the effects of duration of visual feedback of the pointing limb and the time (early to late) in the movement when the limb first becomes visible (timing of visual feedback). Timing, rather than duration of visual feedback, proved to have the greater effect on the relative magnitude of visual and proprioceptive adaptation. Visual adaptation increased smoothly with feedback delay, but corresponding decreases in proprioceptive adaptation underwent an additional sharp change when feedback was delayed until about three-fourths of the way to the terminal limb position. These results are consistent with the idea that visual and proprioceptive adaptation are mediated by exclusive processes. Change in the limb position sense (i.e., proprioceptive adaptation) may be produced by visual guidance of the pointing limb, and view of the limb early in the pointing movement seems to be critical for such visual guidance. The limb may be ballistically released as it nears the terminal position, and, thereafter, any opportunity for visual guidance (i.e., view of the limb) is not effective. On the other hand, change in the eye position sense (i.e., visual adaptation) may be mediated by proprioceptive guidance of the eye; the eyes may track the imaged position of the nonvisible limb. Such proprioceptive guidance seems to be solely a function of the distance moved before the limb becomes visible.